Less than two hours north of San Francisco, this chilled-out county is a world away. Here, where to take it all in.
Get Outdoors: Overlooking a rocky sweep of the Pacific Ocean, Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens (Fort Bragg) is home to 150 species of birds (ash-throated flycatchers; savannah sparrows) and rhododendrons that thrive in the foggy air.
Book a Room with a View: Want a panorama of the sea? Ask for the Kensington Room at the five-suite Blue Door Inn (Mendocino; $), which seems plucked from the English countryside—it’s surrounded by lemon trees and white picket fences.
Eat (Really) Local: “Everything we need we can find in a neighbor’s backyard,” says chef Patrick Meany of the menu at Stone & Embers (Philo; $$). Most dishes, from the thin-crust margherita pizza to the madeleines, are wood-oven-fired.
Taste the Terroir: Mendocino grows the largest variety of grapes in the United States—which makes for a bounty of tasting rooms. We love the Frank Lloyd Wright–inspired Baxter Winery (Philo), a newcomer known for its single-vineyard Pinot Noirs, and Balo Vineyards (Philo), where you can sip rosé while playing a game of bocce.
Go Wild: If you squint at the 100-acre B Bryan Preserve (Point Arena), you might think you’re in Kenya. One big difference: here, visitors on Land Rover drives can hand-feed giraffes.
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Appeared as “Hello, Mendocino” in T+L Magazine